Hue Jackson Wanted Browns to Sign Colin Kaepernick in 2017: ‘Wasn’t My Decision’

RIVERDALE, GA - NOVEMBER 16: Colin Kaepernick looks on during the Colin Kaepernick NFL workout held at Charles R. Drew High School on November 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said Thursday he urged the team to sign free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2017.

“I wanted him,” Jackson said on WKNR Radio in Cleveland (via Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald). “It just didn’t work out. Obviously, those things do have to work from a finance, draft, whatever all that is. And that wasn’t my decision.”

Kaepernick started the movement of kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in August 2016. He became an unrestricted free agent in March 2017 and hasn’t received another opportunity in the NFL despite saying he wants to play.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

There have been renewed calls for the 32-year-old University of Nevada, Reno, product to get a contract as he helps lead efforts to support protesters taking part in a nationwide movement after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis Police custody May 25.

Jackson also said:

“I’ve known Colin. When I was with the Raiders, we were going to draft him [in 2011] when I was there. So, obviously he’d been a really good player in the league. He had tremendous success. He is a guy who has stood for something. I think everybody is seeing exactly where he was coming from. … I always thought Colin deserved an opportunity in this league.”

In 2017, the Browns acquired Brock Osweiler in a trade with the Houston Texans and drafted DeShone Kizer to complete their quarterback room, which also featured Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler. None of those players remain with the team ahead of the 2020 season.

Kaepernick posted an 88.9 passer rating in 69 appearances across six years with the San Francisco 49ers. That would rank 18th among active quarterbacks. He also rushed for 2,300 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

Jackson was the Browns’ head coach from January 2016 through October 2018.

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